Liza’s Book Corner: ‘A Backpack, a Bear, and Eight Crates of Vodka: A Memoir’ 

This is our monthly recommendation from local Jewish educator Liza Wiemer

“A Backpack, a Bear, and Eight Crates of Vodka: A Memoir”

By Lev Galinkin. Published by DoubledayFor young adults and adults 

This is a harrowing, edge-of-your-seat memoir written by Lev Galinkin about his family’s challenging and inspiring journey out of the USSR to the United States in the 1980s. Knowing very little about Judaism, Lev’s childhood was marred by intense antisemitism, which shaped his identity well into adulthood. That hatred was his parents’ motivation fo leave the USSR. Readers will learn about the extraordinary measures taken by the Jewish community to provide for Lev and his family. But sometimes freedom isn’t enough. Sometimes, you have to look back and examine your past to understand your who you really are, what you want out of life, and what meaning it has relating o the person you are now. Lev Galinkin does exactly that in “A Backpack, a Bear, and Eight Crates of Vodka: A Memoir” Highly recommend. 

Educator and author Liza Wiemer, of Fox Point, has taught in nine of our Milwaukee Jewish religious schools and day schools. Her latest novel, “The Assignment,” is appropriate for ages 12 and up.